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Innovation at the heart of future C+W growth, according to report

Research & Development and innovation have a critical role to play in the future growth of Coventry and Warwickshire’s economy, according to a new report.

The latest Coventry and Warwickshire Local Enterprise Partnership (CWLEP) Growth Hub SmartRegion report has collected information from the Growth Hub’s business engagements as well as from CWLEP, Warwickshire County Council, Coventry City Council and other organisations.

It highlights how R&D and innovation has positively impacted on the economy of Coventry and Warwickshire and wider afield as well as focusing on how they impact on key sectors across the sub-region.

Paul Fairburn, Director, Innovation Ecosystem, at Coventry University, said the creative industries along with logistics could play an important part in significant future growth in Coventry and Warwickshire.

He said: “It really is an interesting time for business. We are slowly recovering from the impact of Covid-19 and the huge economic turbulence that it brought, and businesses are starting to look at future challenges and opportunities.

“The creative industries continue to demonstrate the potential for huge future opportunities, especially the games sector, due to the strength of the cluster in Leamington Spa. This in part is driven by the potential crossover of immersive technologies into other markets and sectors.

“Logistics and supply chains are also a key opportunity for our local economy, given the large-scale infrastructure support we have in the region. Certainly, with the huge strides we have seen in e-fulfilment and digital supply chains, there are real future opportunities where we already have significant strengths.

“Clean Growth & Future Mobility, and Health & Wellbeing, are also part of the wider eco-system of assets that we have in Coventry and Warwickshire.

“These help businesses with upskilling as well as being focused on supporting small businesses in the area looking to take new digital products and services to market.

“We need to drive additional investment to support university and industry collaboration, and to drive innovation across a range of different sectors.

“One of the biggest challenges we have is being constrained by local geographies, and what we need to do is build the best for Coventry and Warwickshire, whilst allowing us to work more closely with organisations and businesses that bring expertise and opportunities back into the region, even if they sit outside of our area currently.

“We come across it time and time again, as businesses are clearly not constrained by the regional boundaries across the Midlands or local council areas – they see opportunities to collaborate and innovate wherever they need to, and we should too.

“Stimulating research & design and innovation helps trade and export, ultimately benefiting UK PLC, through identifying and opening-up new markets, ideas, and further innovation, through greater collaboration with places and trading partners abroad.”

Craig Humphrey, Managing Director of the CWLEP Growth Hub, said businesses should take advantage of the innovation funding opportunities available, either through regional programmes or national grant funding schemes such as Innovate UK.

“Businesses who have plenty of ideas to innovate need to be talking to our area’s support organisations to really grasp these opportunities and aid their growth,” he said.

“I would encourage companies to speak to the Growth Hub to see where we can help. We have a great business support infrastructure in Coventry and Warwickshire including CWLEP, Coventry City Council, Warwickshire County Council, the Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce, the FSB, and the two great local universities.

“They are here to help businesses navigate the support and opportunities available to innovate and boost their R&D capabilities, and we all work well together in the region as a supporting eco-system.”

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Caption: Paul Fairburn of Coventry University

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